From a professional perspective, I have experienced scope creep as a team member of a project. To gain new customers for a business, we were required to determine the greatness need of a small neighborhood and create a project that would meet those needs which would be sponsored by this particular company. After surveying this neighborhood, we concluded that the greatest need was communication devices. Many people in this area fell in the low income criteria and only depended on government assistance as a source of income. Their income did not give them the ability to purchase personal cell phones to contact schools, doctor’s offices, or other resources.
The members of my team created a community service event where refreshments would be served to attending participants. During this event, this project would also provide information about life insurance and quotes by sales representatives (by the company) as well as the opportunity for the participants to apply for a government cell phone with sales representatives of a partnering company. Participants that were approved
would be able to take a cell phone home with them the same day (with the company paying a portion of the bill). Compared to the survey taken, this project should serve 200 – 400 participants and should last between 4 – 6 hours. Included in the budget was the wages of all sales representatives, the caterer (including enough food and beverages to feed 200-400), a venue to hold this event, marketing to invite the participants, and the cost of 400 phones (purchased by the bulk with a discount).
The project manager remained on top of things and ensured that everything was in place for the event. Stakeholders appeared at the event to gain publicity and meet the people of the community that were being helped by these services. After meeting our maximum of 400 phones and the refreshments were depleted, we noticed that the venue was still crowded with people. Apparently, the members of the neighborhood spread the word of this event and others also decided to attend to gain these services.
The invitation sent out to the participants stated that the event would end at 5 p.m. and there was still an hour left before we could close the doors. Purchasing more phones would drastically put us over budget for this project. The project manager had already purchased more food than originally estimated because she earlier noticed that we were running low, this
had already increased our budget a bit. After a quick meeting with all the team members, she decided to direct the new participants to refreshments and consultation with a life insurance salesperson which ended with a pamphlet on how they could obtain their own government assisted cell phone. This allowed us to still introduce new customers to the company which was the prime objective of the event.
Scope creep was very real in this project and could have ended with a bigger budget increase than originally determined by the project manager (The Role of Project Management in the Execution of Corporate Strategy, 2013). By holding back extra,
the project manager had the ability to purchase more food without requesting more money from the stakeholders (Laureate Education, Inc., n.d.). By also ending the need for the sales phone representatives an hour early, the project manager was able to recover some of the extra money spent on food. As the project manager, I would have prevented this scope creep by issuing formal eventations to the participants that would not allow them to enter the venue unless they showed their invitation. This would create a more efficient way to measure the number of participants being serviced beforehand.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (n.d.). Project management concerns: ‘Scope creep’ [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu
The Role of Project Management in the Execution of Corporate Strategy. (2013). Leader to Leader, 2013(69), 61. doi:10.1002/ltl.20091